Well, today was day zero of the third annual Santa Monica AltCar Expo. The public is invited to check out all of the green rides at the Santa Monica Civic Center starting tomorrow, but anyone who was walking by the center's parking lot this morning could get an early taste of what will be on display this weekend. We were roaming the area with our camera and thought you might want to see what we saw.
It was impossible to miss the predominance of electric vehicles at the parking lot preview today. From the Skeuter to three examples from Wild Electric Custom Cars, from the new Zerobike (it's the black bike in the gallery below) to the old standbys from Miles EV and Hybrid Technologies, there were lots of electron-powered rides on display. There are always some surprises to be had here at AltCar, and so far the MIIN-AER car (above) seems to be the most unusual. This is a 1999 Porsche Boxter that's had its ICE guts ripped out and replaced by a compressed-air system. The designer says that it'll go 50 miles at 65 mph and takes just ten minutes to recharge the tanks. Even though the press release pasted after the jump says media could take the car for a spin, that didn't happen. We'll see what the weekend brings.
One other vehicle that caught everyone's eye was the Triobike, a sweet pedal-powered bike that has a baby stroller attached to the front. Basically, you load up your kids in the stroller, ride to your destination, then detach the stroller from the bike and then push the kids through the park or mall or whatever. The Triobike can also carry a front tire around and convert to a normal two-wheeled when needed. A friend of mine said that the one improvement she'd like to see would be to have the kids pedal the adult around. They've always go so much energy, right?
Take a look at all these rides in the galleries below.
GIMM Unveils MIIN –AER Car at AltCar Expo 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Proof-of-Concept Compressed Air Car-Which Runs on Air-Makes World Debut at AltCar Expo 2008
FREMONT, CA-The MIIN-AER® car, a proof-of-concept compressed-air car designed to answer the need for more efficient, lower cost and zero pollution vehicles, will have its world debut at AltCar Expo 2008, one of the West Coast's largest alternative transportation event.
Made by GIMM, Inc., a Silicon Valley start up, the converted 1999 Porsche Boxster houses air storage tanks and a patent-pending drive system that uses compressed air multiple times for propulsion. This trademarked energy-recovery system, which emits no pollution, involves a simple multi-chambered motor with only six moving parts and no pistons.
"We've developed a way to add energy to the system from the ambient environment," said GIMM CEO Glenn Bell, a former Hewlett Packard Director in Asia-Pacific. The proof-of-concept Porsche car, he said, has a top speed of 65 mph. It can travel approximately 50 miles, depending on load and speed, on a full tank of air compressed by about 25 kilowatt hours of electricity. It takes Bell less than 10 minutes to fill the tank with air. These specifications, based on early development, will continue to improve.
Media are invited to test drive the MIIN-AER® Car at an AltCar Expo media-only event, Thur., Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium parking garage, Santa Monica, CA. RSVP: (310) 383-0956.
Bell designed the MIIN-AER® system, which can also be used for energy storage to ease peak demand. Its energy storage function is especially applicable to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, which generate most power during off-peak demand periods.
The system will also address climate change as well as shortages in raw materials such as lithium which is increasingly being used in batteries for Electric Vehicles (EV). The MIIN-AER® system is not subject to limitations of EV battery durability or overheating or lengthy recharging times.
"The MIIN-AER® car is a solution to all those issues," Bell said. "You simply test the air tank once every five years. Maintenance and its associated costs are low because the car has few moving parts. This is a very viable alternative as we move forward to a cleaner environment and a more cost effective national fleet."
Although the MIIN-AER® car can be fueled with home air compressors capable of 4,500 psi, this technology would have to be installed at public fueling stations. However, most gas stations already have less powerful compressors and upgrade costs would be minimal. And, unlike the costly fuel that's needed to power other alternatives such as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, "air is everywhere and it's free," Bell said.
Bell came up with the idea for the MIIN-AER® system a decade ago and spent the past year on full-time research and development. He plans to start licensing the system by early 2009. GIMM expects to offer conversion kits and may also convert vehicles itself. (The proof-of-concept Porsche is not for sale.) The company is actively seeking collaborative partners and investors, both domestic and overseas.
About GIMM, INC:
GIMM, INC, based in Fremont, CA, develops and distributes clean energy systems, namely the MIIN–AER® system of high pressure pneumatics. MIIN stands for Minimally Intrusive (to the environment) Intensely pNeumatic. Our focus is to address the world's need for more efficient, lower cost, zero pollution energy sources. We strive to make a difference and create a better world using our innovative technologies so that future generations will benefit from our work and passion. For more information: www.airfuelauto.com or (408) 507-7976.
About AltCar Expo 2008
AltCar Expo 2008, Sept. 26 and 27 at the Santa Monica Civic Center, 1885 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401, will showcase more than 100 alt-fuel and ultra-efficient vehicles. Highlights include public ride-and-drives and panels featuring automotive, environmental and public policy experts. The free event typically draws 10,000 attendees. www.altcarexpo.com.